National Whistleblowers Center's Statement on the Senate Markup of the Whistleblower Enhancement Act

Published on July 29, 2009

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National Whistleblowers Center’s Statement on the Senate Markup of the Whistleblower Enhancement Act

Washington, D.C. July 29, 2009.   Today the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs issued its markup of the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2009 (S. 372).   In response to the Senate Committee action, the Executive Director of the National Whistleblower Center, Mr. Stephen M. Kohn issued the following statement:

“The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs has taken a step towards fixing the broken federal whistleblower protection system.   We urge the House and Senate Members to work together to pass truly effective reforms for federal employees.  The Senate did the right thing in putting forward a provision, which permits federal employees to remove their cases to federal court.  However, the procedural and substantive limitations on these fundamental due process rights should be removed.”

“We are disappointed that the Senate bill incorporates a number of provisions into the proposed law which actually reduce current rights exercised by some employees.  Most notably, the national security provision significantly undercuts the current authority of Inspectors General to investigate whistleblower retaliation claims.  The Senate bill also repeals an important provision under current law that mandates that the Attorney General provide administrative protections for FBI employees.”

“We continue to urge the Senate to further amend S. 372 to include key protections contained in the House version of the bill (H.R. 1507).  The Obama Campaign endorsed explicitly endorsed the House bill, as did numerous other leading 2008 presidential candidates, such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Arkansas Governor Michael Huckabee.  We expect President Obama to fulfill this vital non-partisan campaign promise.”

“Given the huge increases in federal spending, combined with the clear need for strong oversight and accountability of federal power and the use of taxpayer dollars, there is an urgent need for President Obama to ensure that his campaign promise is fully implemented.”

NWC General Counsel David K. Colapinto has carefully analyzed this complex Senate bill.  He has provided an expert analysis and commentary on the Senate bill.  Mr. Colapinto’s analysis is set forth on   Mr. Colapinto has represented federal employee whistleblowers for over 20 years and has been actively involved in the legislative development of both bills.

Stephen M. Kohn  (202) 342-6980
David K. Colapinto (202) 342-6980
Lindsey M. Williams  (202) 342-1903

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